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Motorized Blinds and Smart Blinds Options in Canada

It's hard to come up with a scenario where having motorized blinds in your home wouldn't be both delightful and beneficial. However, for some homeowners, motorized blinds aren't just a nice-to-have; they're a necessity.

motorized blinds in cozy living room
Motorized blinds make life easier when you have multiple large windows that are difficult to reach. (Hunter Douglas)

Who Should Buy Motorized Blinds

If you have many large windows throughout your home and raising and lowering your blinds daily has become a chore, then motorized blinds are essential.

For homeowners with tall or hard-to-reach windows, motorized blinds are the most logical window treatment. However, the benefits of high-end motorized blinds don't end with the touch of a button. You can set up your blinds to open and close automatically at key moments throughout the day.

Perhaps you want to be woken up by glorious rays of sunlight at exactly 8:15 am every day. Or maybe you want the living room blinds to close at 8:00 pm, reminding you that it's time to wind down.

If you have motorized blinds with adjustable light filtering, then you can also automate the light filtering to adjust seamlessly throughout the day.

Opening and closing the many blinds in your home will no longer be a chore.

In addition, anyone with hard-to-reach windows should certainly consider motorized blinds. It will be much easier to control the light (and privacy) in your home when you can simply press a button to open and close your blinds.

Hunter Douglas Pebble Remote
Hunter Douglas PowerView Pebble Rmote

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Motorized Blinds vs. Motorized Shades

Motorized blinds are the same thing as motorized shades, so when you're doing your research, don't get confused by the interchangeable use of the two terms. 

Motorized blinds are often referred to as electric blinds, automatic blinds, automated blinds, smart blinds, and smart shades by homeowners looking for a power-operated blinds system. These terms generally refer to blinds or shades operated by a power system.

However, there are subtle differences between these terms:

  • Motorized blinds and shades are broadly any window covering that is powered by batteries or hardwired into the electrical system of a home.

  • Automated blinds specifically refer to blinds that can be connected to an app, allowing homeowners to control and automate their operation according to a set schedule.

  • Smart blinds or smart shades are designed to integrate with a smart home system, enabling control through voice commands or smart home interfaces, enhancing their convenience and functionality.

Automatic blinds and electric blinds are not terms used in the blinds industry. However, it's likely that if you encounter someone discussing "automatic blinds," they're referring to automated blinds which connect to an app or smart home system. At the same time, electric blinds would refer to hardwired motorized blinds.

3 Key Benefits of Motorized Blinds and Smart Blinds

1 - Convenience and Safety

Motorized shades enhance convenience by eliminating lift cords, making it easier and safer for children, people with limited mobility, and homes with pets. Motorized shades can be operated simply by using a wand, like Hunter Douglas' SoftTouch® Motorization system, which is battery-powered and operated by gently pulling down or pushing up on the wand.

2 - Advanced Automation Features Enhance Daily Life & Home Security

For more functionality, motorized smart shades offer added benefits such as automation and various control methods. With systems like PowerView® Automation, you can operate shades via remote control, mobile device, or voice commands. You can also set schedules for the shades to adjust automatically, providing optimal light control, privacy, security, and energy efficiency throughout the day.

3 - Motorized Blinds Enhance Everyday Living

Let's be honest: if you don't have massive windows or hard-to-reach windows, you probably don't need motorized blinds. But they're way more fun to use than regular blinds! Instead of constantly opening and closing your blinds and trying to get just the right light-filtering effect, you can achieve all of this with the touch of a button.

And, if you get premium blinds with automation, you can connect to an app and schedule your blinds to open and close whenever you want! For a calm, elegant, and frankly delightful blinds experience, you cannot beat motorized blinds.

the PowerView rechargeable battery wand
PowerView Rechargeable Battery Wand by Hunter Douglas

Power Options for Your Motorized Blinds

At Fresh Design, we offer Hunter Douglas motorized blinds. The power options vary depending on which brand of motorized blinds you purchase. Below are the main power options available from Hunter Douglas. Make sure you review the power options available to you when researching different motorized blind brands.

1. Battery-Powered: Standard 

This is one of the most popular options due to its ease of installation and operation. You can use a battery-powered system that is cordless and clean-looking. The batteries are typically hidden within the headrail, and depending on usage, they can last for several months before they need to be changed.

2. Battery Wand: Rechargeable

Hunter Douglas offers a rechargeable battery wand option which combines the convenience of battery power with sustainability batteries.  This rechargeable battery wand is particularly useful for high-up or hard-to-reach windows where changing batteries might be inconvenient. Depending on usage, you will have to recharge your batteries every 6-12 months. It's easy to remove the batteries, and it takes approximately 3 hours to fully charge them. You can combine the rechargeable battery wand with PowerView automation for fully automated window treatments.

3. Hard-Wired or Plug-In Power Supply

This option involves connecting the blinds directly to your home's electrical system. Hard-wired motorized blinds are ideal for new construction or major renovations, where you can plan for electrical access points near the blinds. This setup eliminates the need for battery replacement and is suitable for larger or multiple blinds that are used frequently. If you have an outlet near your blinds, then you may be able to power your blinds using a plug-in power supply.

woman sitting on her bed with the pebble remote

Remote Control Considerations

When buying motorized blinds make sure you love the remote control that you'll be using every day. You'll want to ensure the remote is attractive and easy to use. (No finicky buttons or markings that will rub away after three months of use!)

Ideally, you'll have a remote control with a design aesthetic that is pleasing but also eye-catching so you don't find yourself constantly looking for the blinds remote. Hunter Douglas offers the Pebble Remote control in a variety of colours, so you'll be able to select a remote that works with your home. And there’s a wall-mount option, so you won't be wondering where you put the blinds remote. 

Main Types of Motorized Blinds

Motorized blinds offer a blend of convenience and style, perfect for modern living spaces in Canada. With a variety of styles available, these blinds can be controlled with the push of a button, integrating seamlessly into smart home systems.

Types of motorized blinds include the following:

Motorized Cellular Shades

Motorized cellular shades are ideal for enhancing insulation and energy efficiency in your home. These shades operate quietly and can be programmed to adjust automatically to changing temperatures and light levels. Their honeycomb structure helps trap air, maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures year-round.

Motorized Roman Blinds

Motorized Roman blinds combine the classic look of traditional Roman blinds with modern technology. The blinds fold into neat pleats when raised, offering an elegant and cozy touch to any room. Hunter Douglas makes motorized Roman blinds in a wide selection of fabrics and patterns, ensuring a perfect match for your interior decor.

Motorized Roller Shades

Hunter Douglas motorized roller shades are a sleek and contemporary option, perfect for minimalist decor. These shades roll up completely into a discreet headrail, providing an unobstructed view when open. They are available in various opacities and materials, making them versatile for light control and privacy.

Motorized Solar Blinds

Motorized solar blinds are designed to provide UV protection while still allowing natural light to enter your space. These blinds are perfect for rooms with extensive sun exposure, helping to reduce glare and heat without sacrificing your view. Solar blinds can be set to adjust automatically, maintaining optimal light levels throughout the day.

Motorized Blackout Shades

For ultimate privacy and darkness, motorized room-darkening shades are the go-to choice. These shades are perfect for bedrooms or any room where light exclusion is required. The motorized mechanism allows for effortless operation, making it easy to achieve complete room darkening at any time.

However, keep in mind that blinds alone can never offer the "perfect" blackout. For the ultimate blackout, it's best to combine blinds and drapery, as even the most perfectly fitted blind will allow small light leaks along the edges. This is unavoidable as you can't create a perfect "seal" with just window blinds - even high-end motorized blinds. 

By adding drapery, you can completely obscure all sneaky rays of light.

Motorized Sheer Shades

Motorized sheer shades offer a beautiful combination of light diffusion and room-enhancing aesthetics. Sheer shades softly filter daylight while providing privacy, creating a gentle ambiance in your home. By adding motorization, it's simple to adjust your shades to achieve the perfect balance of light and privacy.

Motorized Zebra Blinds or Designer Banded Shades

Hunter Douglas Designer Banded Shades, often referred to as Zebra Blinds, feature alternating sheer and opaque bands in a single shade. These motorized shades allow you to shift between sheer and solid fabric with ease, offering a modern solution for light control and privacy. Their unique design makes them a statement piece in any room, blending functionality with striking aesthetics.

sunny kitchen area with SoftTouch motorized blinds
SoftTouch motorized blinds by Hunter Douglas feature a wand that operates the motorized blind.

Hunter Douglas Motorized Blinds in Canada

PowerView® Automation

PowerView automation is a sophisticated motorization technology that allows you to control your blinds using a mobile app, a remote control, or through voice commands via smart home systems. PowerView® can be powered by batteries or through a DC power supply, adding flexibility and advanced connectivity for ease of use.

Pebble Remote Control

The Pebble Remote Control is an accessory for Hunter Douglas motorized blinds that allows for manual operation without the need for physical contact with the blinds. It is designed to control multiple groups of window treatments independently or together with just a few clicks. The remote is sleek with an ergonomic design. It provides ease of use, allowing for the adjustment of blinds across large or complex spaces.

Battery Operated Blinds with the Hunter Douglas PowerWand

Hunter Douglas's PowerWand system provides a battery-operated solution for motorizing window blinds. If you don't have convenient access to electrical outlets and can't hardwire your blinds, this may be for you. The system is operated by a simple pull-and-release mechanism, making it user-friendly and accessible. Battery operation also enhances safety by eliminating cords, which are particularly beneficial in homes with young children and pets.

Compatible Smart Home Devices

Hunter Douglas motorized blinds are designed to integrate with a range of smart home systems, including Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. This integration allows for the control of blinds through existing smart home interfaces. Automated blinds add to the overall functionality of home automation setups. By connecting to these systems, blinds can be controlled not just for privacy or aesthetic purposes but also to enhance energy efficiency by responding to environmental changes.

Voice Control

The voice control capabilities in Hunter Douglas motorized blinds allow for hands-free operation, which is facilitated through integration with smart home assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. This feature is especially useful in scenarios where manual interaction with a device is inconvenient or impractical. By using simple voice commands, you can adjust your window coverings to reach the exact level of light and privacy you desire without lifting a finger!

motorized blinds for large windows and sliding glass doors
Some motorized blinds can be automated to open, close, and adjust automatically throughout the day. (Hunter Douglas)

7 Factors that Contribute to the Cost of Motorized Blinds

When considering what you'll need to pay to have high-quality motorized blinds in your home, several factors contribute to the overall cost. There's not an easy answer to the question, "How much do motorized blinds cost?"

Below is a breakdown of key elements that will contribute to the cost of your motorized blinds as well as the value you'll get from them:

1. Type of Motorization

The type of motorization technology used to operate the blinds can significantly influence the price. Basic motorized systems that operate with a remote may be less expensive than those offering advanced features like app integration or compatibility with smart home systems. PowerView® Automation by Hunter Douglas is known for its advanced connectivity and may come at a premium compared to simpler motorization options. However, if you have a Smart Home or many large windows, the expense will typically be worth it.

2. Power Options

The choice between battery-operated, rechargeable, or hard-wired motor systems affects cost. Battery-operated blinds tend to be cheaper upfront and easier to install but will have the ongoing cost of battery replacements to consider. Hard-wired solutions, while more expensive to install, especially if retrofitting, eliminate the need for battery replacements and will save you time in the long run.

3. Material and Style of Blinds

The material and style of the blinds themselves also play a critical role in pricing. High-quality materials like fine fabrics, woods, or the technical woven materials and fabrics used in roller shades, Roman blinds, or vertical blinds can vary in price. In addition, the size and number of blinds will affect the overall cost of your project.

4. Customization and Additional Features

Any customization, such as specific colours, patterns, or textures, adds to the cost. Additional features like UV protection, thermal insulation, or room darkening capabilities may also increase the price. The complexity of the window shapes and the number of windows being fitted with motorized blinds may further impact the budget.

5. Installation

Professional installation is recommended for most motorized blinds, especially for wired systems, which require proper electrical connections. Installation costs can vary based on the complexity of the installation, the type of blinds, and local labour rates. In some cases, dealers might offer installation discounts as part of a package deal.

6. Brand and Quality

Premium brands like Hunter Douglas often command higher prices due to their reputation for quality, durability, and after-sales service. Investing in a reputable brand can mean higher initial costs but often translates to better longevity, warranties, and customer support.

7. Operational Costs

Consider the long-term operational costs, including maintenance and energy consumption, if using wired motorization. While these costs are generally low, they should be factored into the overall budget.

PowerView App by Hunter Douglas
Schedule your blinds to open and close at your convenience.

Lifetime Guarantees and Customer Care

When buying motorized blinds, make sure you find out what the guarantee is and whether the distributor or service provider selling you the blinds will offer customer service after the installation. If you have a problem with the blinds, will they help you solve the problem?

When you buy your blinds from a showroom that offers after-purchase customer service, they will take care of any warranty issue that you may have with the blinds.

Common Questions about Motorized Blinds and Shades

How do motorized blinds work?

Motorized blinds and shades function by using a small motor that operates the mechanism to raise, lower, and, in some cases, tilt the blinds. Depending on the blinds you have purchased, you can control these motors via a remote control, a smartphone app, or even through voice commands with smart home systems like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. This allows for effortless adjustment of your window coverings without needing to physically reach them.

Using a remote control is the most common motorized blind option. However, there are also motorized blinds that work with a wand.

Hunter Douglas offers a motorization option called SoftTouch™ Motorization, where you operate the blinds or shades using a wand. This system is a user-friendly, battery-operated motorization option, where you gently pull down or push up on the wand to control the movement of the window treatments. It's a good choice for those who prefer a simple, clean look without the need for remote controls or additional smart home integration. SoftTouch™ Motorization eliminates cords that pose a risk to children and pets. It's a great option for achieving precise positioning of blinds and shades with minimal effort.

What are automated blinds?

Automated blinds are essentially motorized blinds that have the added capability to be programmed based on specific conditions or schedules. For example, you can set your blinds to open at sunrise or close at sunset automatically or adjust according to the room's temperature or light levels. This automation adds an extra level of convenience and energy efficiency, as it optimizes natural light use and helps maintain ideal room temperatures.

How can I choose the right smart shade?

Choosing the right smart shade involves considering a few factors:

  1. Compatibility: Ensure the motorized system is compatible with any smart home devices you may already have, like a smart home hub.

  2. Functionality: Decide what features are important to you, such as remote control and voice command capabilities.

  3. Style and Material: Smart shades come in various styles and materials, which can impact both aesthetics and functionality. Consider the light filtering, UV protection, and style of the shades.

  4. Budget: Motorized options generally come at a premium, so consider how much you are willing to invest in upgrading your window treatments.

What are the benefits of motorized window coverings?

Motorized window coverings offer several benefits:

  • Convenience: Adjust your blinds or shades from anywhere, which is especially handy for hard-to-reach windows.

  • Energy Efficiency: Use programming features to reduce heating and cooling costs by keeping your home appropriately shaded or exposed to natural light as needed.

  • Safety: Without cords, motorized blinds are safer for homes with children and pets.

  • Security: Program your shades to move throughout the day to make it appear like someone is home, even when you're not.

Live in Vancouver? Take the Next Step

You can turn any room into a sanctuary of style and comfort when you find just the right window blinds or drapery. If you live in West Van, North Van, or Vancouver, let the blinds and drapery experts at Fresh Design help you find the perfect window covering solutions for your space.

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